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How best can you protect pupils and staff from Covid-19?

September 9, 2020, 10:29 GMT+1
Read in about 9 minutes
  • With the Coronavirus still a threat to the health of the nation, what practical steps can be taken to help aid the fight against the disease in our schools?
How best can you protect pupils and staff from Covid-19?

Joe Plosky

Director at Everblocks UK

Children need to be in schools to get the best from their learning environment. So the space and how it is divided up can play a huge part in providing safe protection for pupils.

An avenue of opportunity for most schools is the repurposing of existing spaces. This can be achieved with fun, modular, reconfigurable, building blocks and panels.

Gyms, halls, foyers and unused areas are great places to define smaller spaces and safe working areas for pupils and staff alike. Classrooms can also be redefined to allow for safe space areas.

Everblocks’ modular building blocks provide a self-build product to create semi-permanent walls, rooms, areas, desking, workstations and divide spaces.

The blocks and panels can be reconfigured to another use or style entirely and can be classed as multifunctional modular building products, as they can be used inside or outside too.

The products are also “sustainable through re-use”, and we offer a “buy-back scheme” to make sure the products can be reissued into the system for others to use again and again.

All blocks and panels are hygienic and easy to wipe clean.

Full design and build support is also available along with “Classroom” and “Playground” kits for STEM and team learning.

@EverblocksUK
Everblocksystems.co.uk

Dr Emma Saunders

General Manager for Genesis Biosciences

With all schools in the UK set to fully reopen in September, establishing a thorough cleaning regime now is crucial for the safe return of pupils.

We are supporting education facilities in their quest to secure safe and effective anti-viral products and incorporate them into their new cleansing schedule. Genesis Biosciences has developed its own unique anti-microbial, general-purpose sanitiser that is proven to be effective against Covid-19 and is free from any harmful chemicals, and has begun supplying primary schools across the UK.

Educational institutes are under huge pressure to ensure their facilities are protected against COVID-19 while also maintaining day-to-day cleanliness. While it is inevitable that schools need chemicals to perform certain cleaning tasks, not all cleaning jobs call for chemical solutions and there can be wider environmental and health implications for both children and workers if institutes are unaware of the alternative cleaning solutions available.

Genesis has seen a huge increase in demand for its new Evogen Professional natural anti-microbial sanitiser and has supplied more than 60 tonnes of product across the entirety of Europe since the beginning of March.

@Genesis_Bio
evogenprofessional.com

Jean-Henri Beukes

Managing Director at Ecocleen

As a commercial contract cleaning provider, we have been servicing 10 million sq ft of schools daily to aid the reopening of education facilities. With specialist cleaning expertise and local account management, the company adapted its offering to meet individual school needs and expectations, during this unprecedented period, to ensure education facilities remain a safe and hygienic environment.

Since schools started reopening in June, we have adjusted our cleaning specifications, in line with government guidelines, and introduced daily cleaning throughout school hours, focussing on main contact points to help limit the risk of cross contamination. We’re proud to have helped students, teachers and parents return to some sense of normalcy by providing them with what they need to safeguard their school.

Schools are not experts in cleaning: they are there to educate, as well as look after their teachers and students. We’re on hand to understand the unique needs of cleaning schools, colleges and nurseries, and help them feel safe as education facilities continue reopening. As a national service provider with regional franchise ownership, Ecocleen has provided schools with a local cleaning solution backed by nationwide standards, systems and support.

@Ecocleen
Ecocleen.co.uk

Meeting the challenges of COVID-19 in the classroom

Andy Jakes, product development director at Ultima Displays, explains how sanitising units can be used in schools

Making hand sanitising part of children’s everyday life while in school is the challenge faced by teachers.

This follows Government guidance to schools released in July stipulating that for the Autumn term, schools must ‘introduce preventative measures to help students and staff clean hands thoroughly, more often than usual and introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often’.

To meet these challenges, visual communications company Ultima Displays has shared insight into their latest Kids Multi-height Sanitising Unit specifically designed for Early Years, KS1 and KS2.

They already offer a popular range of adult premium sanitising stations and realised there was nothing in the marketplace to engage children, so that they see hand sanitising as an activity that is friendly, fun and appealing. This inspired Ultima to design a brightly-coloured portable unit that can be used indoors and outdoors.

The innovative aspect of the design is the ability to easily adjust the dispenser height; by using the sliding mechanism, the sanitiser bottle height can quickly be altered to between 500-900mm from the floor. This ensures its suitability for a broad age range from three to 11 years. The ability to change the height and move the unit where it is needed makes the sanitiser an attractive option for schools and nurseries.

Key to its impact are the brightly coloured graphics, designed to engage children in a clear, friendly way. This makes the sanitising unit easier for teachers to visually explain the importance of hygiene. Designed with longevity in mind the sturdy metal unit has a low centre of gravity, a wipe clean glossy powder-coated finish and has no sharp edges. The circular half-moon base enables easy access for wheelchair users making it safe and accessible.

Pressure

Covid-19 has had an immense impact on children and their education and has added extra pressure on teachers to keep children engaged and alleviate their fears. Ultima believe the combination of height adjustability, colour and bright graphics will encourage engagement and make it easier for teachers to promote regular and unsupervised hand sanitising by students.

Feedback so far is that children really love the unit and want to use it. This in turn will help to make it a much less frightening experience especially for younger children and ease parents’ concerns that their children are safe while in school.

Handwashing stations should be located so they are convenient to use at the critical times, such as before handling food or after using the toilet. If soap and water for handwashing are unavailable, or far from the toilet, food preparation area, or food consumption area, this can reduce the likelihood of handwashing. The location of a handwashing station should serve as a reminder or ‘cue to action’ when people leave the latrine or are about to cook or eat. Source: globalhandwashing.org

Ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available. Where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in classrooms and other learning environments. Clean surfaces that children and young people are touching, such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, bannisters, more regularly than normal.

Click here to follow the Covid-19 cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.

High-touch surfaces should be identified for priority disinfection. These include door and window handles, kitchen and food preparation areas, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, toilets and taps, touchscreen personal devices, personal computer keyboards and work surfaces.

The disinfectant and its concentration should be carefully selected to avoid damaging surfaces and to avoid or minimise toxic effects on household members or users of public spaces.

The environmental cleaning techniques and cleaning principles should be followed as far as possible. Surfaces should always be cleaned with soap and water or a detergent to remove organic matter first, followed by disinfection. Source: World Health Organisation

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